Story by Alan Snell Photo by J. Tyge O’Donnell
We all knew that Hunter Thompson could write. But who knew that Hunter Thompson could hit three-point shots from behind the arc for Wyoming?
The countercultural king of gonzo journalism died in 2005. But his namesake from the Wyoming Cowboys returned to Las Vegas on Wednesday night to take on the fallen UNLV Runnin’ Rebels in the Mountain West Conference.
The Rebs were on the skids, losing six of their first seven conference games after a searing 11-1 start to the season. But Wyoming came to Las Vegas with a mediocre 6-13 record with a similar 1-6 conference record.
And UNLV responded with a 41-31 lead at halftime, shooting 55 percent from the field in the first 20 minutes. And then UNLV’s EJ Harkless led the Rebs in the second half with an 86–72 win to the home side at the Thomas & Mack Center. UNLV improved to 13-7 and 2-6 in MWC while Wyoming fell to 6-14 and 1-7 in Mountain West. Harkless led the Rebs with 28 points. UNLV announced an attendance of 4539 people.
“Today was a big step in the way we played,” UNLV coach Kevin Krueger told the press after the game. “We guarded without fouls. It was definitely a step back in the right direction.”
UNLV could have made its mark in the highly competitive Las Vegas sports market if the basketball team had continued its path to conference winnings after winning 11 of its first dozen games.
But it all started with an overtime loss in San Jose State, and a blazing 11-1 record has fallen to its current 13-7 mark. The Rebs’ only conference victory in today’s game was a victory over the tough New Mexico Lobos at the Pit in New Mexico.
It wasn’t a big crowd. UNLV used a $2 beer to try and cheer up the crowd. Some fans cashed in on this part of the deal.
UNLV will play a big game here on Saturday when Nevada Reno visits The Mack.